Let's get this out of the way first: The Golden Globe Awards are nutty and people take them way too seriously. Whatever your issues with the Academy Awards, they at least represent the collective opinion of close to 6000 filmmakers &mdash writers, actors, directors, cinematographers, editors, production designers et al.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association is made up of fewer than 100 people who cover the American movie scene for non-US publications. Most aren't even critics and again, whatever you think of movie critics in general, they write about movies. Not industry news, not celebrities, not gossip. Movies.
That said, HFPA does a great awards show, mostly because rather than trap the nominees,presenters and guests in theater seats for three hours, they have them at tables where they can eat and drink until they get their moment in the spotlight. Especially drink. Liquoring people up and then giving them the floor can make for some great TV. Do you really think Darren Aronofsky would have playfully given Mickey Rourke the finger when Rthe actor called him "one tough son of a bitch" if they'd been at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion. Nuh-uh.
And now, some thoughts:
Go Slumdog Millionaire: The Dickensian fable took four major awards — best drama, director for Danny Boyle, screenplay for Simon Beaufoy and score for Bollywood legend A.R. Rahman — more than any other film.
Given that HFPA is the foreign press association, why are their foreign-language film picks so relentlessly middle of the road. You'd think that if any group might recognize underappreciated foreign films like Jar City and Let the Right One In, it would be this one.
Ditto the animated film nominees: French filmmaker Michel Ocelot's Azur and Asmar, anyone? It wouldn't have stood a chance of winning against Wall-E, but a nomination might have raised its profile a little.
Great night for Kate Winslet, who walked away with both the best actress/drama and the best supporting actress awards. Thank goodness one was for Revolutionary Road, directed by her husband, Sam Mendes. If she'd won an award for The Reader and Revolutionary Road had wound up completely unrecognized (it was nominated in several categories, but Winslet's was the only win) things might have been a little chilly on the homefront.
The HFPA doeswn't have seperate categories for original and adapted screenplays; curiously, every one of this years nominees was an adaptation. Coincidence, or a sign of the grim way in which Hollywood business practices make it much harder to produce an original screenplay than one that comes with some kind of pre-sell, whether its the nostalgic appeal of an old TV show or the imprimateur of an acclaimed novel or play?
You could make a solid argument that Sean Penn should have won best actor/drama for Milk, but I was really glad to see the award go to Mickey Rourke for The Wrestler. Penn has always gotten his critical due, and Rourke hasn't; he may be a legendary pain in the ass (as is Penn, come to think of it), but he's a hugely talented actor and he did some of the best work of his career in The Wrestler, even if much of it was just exposing his ruined face to the camera's merciless eye.
Vicky Cristina Barcelona was a comedy? Kudos to Colin Farrell for his best actor/comedy or musical win for In Bruges , and not just because it was directed by one Martin McDonagh. To the best of my knowledge, we're not related, though "McDonagh" is the least common spelling of a relatively unusual name. Christopher Nolan, really lovely acceptance speech on behalf of the late Heath Ledger for The Dark Knight.
Complete Golden Globe Nominees and Winners in Film Categories:
BEST MOTION PICTURE/DRAMA
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
BEST MOTION PICTURE/MUSICAL OR COMEDY
Burn After Reading
*Vicky Cristina Barcelona
David Fincher, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon
Stephen Daldry, The Reader
Sam Mendes, Revolutionary Road
*Danny Boyle, Slumdog Millionaire
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Eric Roth
Doubt, John Patrick Shanley
Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan
The Reader, David Hare
*Slumdog Millionaire, Simon Beaufoy
BEST FOREIGN-LANGUAGE FILM
The Baader Meinhof Complex, Germany
Everlasting Moments, Sweden/Denmark
I've Loved You for so Long, France
*Waltz with Bashir, Israel
BEST ANIMATED MOTION PICTURE
Kung Fu Panda
BEST ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE / DRAMA
Anne Hathaway, Rachel Getting Married
Angelina Jolie, Changeling
Meryl Streep, Doubt
Kristin Scott Thomas, I've Loved You So Long
*Kate Winslet, Revolutionary Road
BEST ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE/COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Rebecca Hall, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
*Sally Hawkins, Happy-Go-Lucky
Frances McDormand, Burn After Reading
Meryl Streep, Mamma Mia!
Emma Thompson, Last Chance Harvey
BEST ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE/DRAMA
Leonardo DiCaprio, Revolutionary Road
Frank Langella, Frost/Nixon
Sean Penn, Milk
Brad Pitt, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
*Mickey Rourke, The Wrestler
BEST ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE/COMEDY OR MUSICAL
Javier Bardem, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
*Colin Farrell, In Bruges
James Franco, Pineapple Express
Brendan Gleeson, In Bruges
Dustin Hoffman, Last Chance Harvey
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MOTION PICTURE
Amy Adams, Doubt
Penélope Cruz, Vicky Cristina Barcelona
Viola Davis, Doubt
Marisa Tomei, The Wrestler
*Kate Winslet, The Reader
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MOTION PICTURE
Tom Cruise, Tropic Thunder
Robert Downey Jr., Tropic Thunder
Ralph Fiennes, The Duchess
Philip Seymour Hoffman, Doubt
Heath Ledger, The Dark Knight
BEST ORIGINAL SCORE
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
BEST ORIGINAL SONG
"Down to Earth," WALL-E
"Gran Torino," Gran Torino
"I Thought I Lost You," Bolt
"Once in a Lifetime," Cadillac Records
*"The Wrestler," The Wrestler